Campus Life, News

‘Marshland’ more than average murder mystery

Javier Gutiérrez participates in a Q&A session, with the help of a translator, following the screening of his film "Marshland (La Isla Minima)" at the Cosford Cinema Saturday afternoon. Isabella Cueto // Assistant News Editor

Javier Gutiérrez participates in a Q&A session, with the help of a translator, following the screening of his film “Marshland (La Isla Minima)” at the Cosford Cinema Saturday afternoon. Isabella Cueto // Assistant News Editor

A small crowd formed a line outside Cosford Cinema Saturday afternoon in anticipation of the screening of “Marshland (La Isla Minima),” which was followed by a Q&A session with the film’s Goya Award-winning lead actor, Javier Gutiérrez.

The Spanish actor’s appearance was made possible by a partnership between the Centro Cultural Español de Miami and the University of Miami’s Cosford Cinema.

Prior to the screening, Gutiérrez, who plays Juan in the film, said a few words to the crowd. He thanked them for their support and discussed the accolades the film received in Spain.

“Marshland” premiered in September 2014 at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and received critical acclaim. The film went on to win 10 Goya Awards, which Gutiérrez likened to the Oscars in the U.S. These annual awards are presented by the Spanish Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts. The film has won Best Film and Best Director and was the official selection of the festival in San Sebastian, Spain.

Many critics were especially impressed by the film’s cinematography. “Marshland” opens with aerial shots of striking architectural geography around the Guadalquivir River at La Doñana National Park in Spain. The film is set in 1980 in a small town in Andalusia, right after the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

Gutiérrez plays a police detective with a dark past who is investigating the disappearance and brutal murders of two teenage girls. From the start, the audience was visibly drawn to the story, gasping and laughing hesitantly at the dark humor.

According to Gutiérrez, the film goes beyond the basic murder mystery. Its storyline contains more than just a single murderer; there is a web of deceit and corruption, playing up the political climate of the era. The actor also commented on the invisibility of women in the country’s “misogynistic past.”

Although Gutiérrez’s character was considered the protagonist for investigating the case, Gutiérrez called him a “villain” when asked what most attracted him to the role. It was mostly Juan’s past as a torturer under Prime Minister Franco that eats away at him and causes his violent nature to flare up throughout the investigation. By the end of the film, the character is also involved in the crime, making him an antihero.

“It is a gift for any actor, because villains are always more interesting to interpret because of their edges – their meat,” he said.

The role was a stark contrast to Gutiérrez’s previous roles, which include a comedic role on a popular Spanish television show called “Águila Roja (Red Eagle).” He said many fans were shocked that he chose to take on such a complex character, but many were pleasantly surprised.

“As an actor, you try to put yourself in the skin of someone else and some [characters]feel better than others, but I had a lot of help from the great script and director Alberto Rodríguez,” he said.

Screenings of “Marshland” at Cosford ran exclusively this past weekend, ending on Sunday.

August 23, 2015


Isabella Cueto

Isabella Cueto can be reached via email at and through Twitter at @isabellacueto.

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.